Couple's long weekend in Paris

Couple's long weekend in Paris

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

Ah Paris, La Ville Lumière (city of lights), home to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre museum and numerous other world-famous landmarks. If strolling hand-in-hand through this amazing city, sipping espresso outside a café and window shopping with your significant other doesn’t sound like a fantastic romantic weekend getaway, then I don’t know what does. Spend a few days eating some of the best food in the world, strolling along the Seine River and enjoying the company of your favorite person. 


Main sights

The Catacombs in Paris | Photo by Konstantin Kalishko 

The Catacombs of Paris are not to be missed if you like to be just a little bit creeped out when you tour an area. The catacombs were established in the 18th century when the city suffered from overflowing cemeteries. The remains of millions of Parisians were transferred to the old quarries of Tombe-Issoire. As with almost everything in Paris, the catacombs are a work of art. Since 1809, the public has been able to tour this ossuary, one of the largest in the world.


Montparnasse Tower and the Paris skyline | Photo by Sergey Novikov 

For one of the best views of Paris, head to Montparnasse Tower. With panoramic views including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Les Invalides and more, the Montparnasse Tower Panoramic Observation Deck is a great place to admire the entire city. Talk about a bird's-eye view! You’ll be able to view the city at a height of 689 feet. Watch a brief film about the history of Paris and enjoy a glass of champagne with your special someone while you view the world’s most romantic city. Consider going to the observation deck at night to see the Eiffel Tower when it lights up every hour. 


Illuminated Eiffel tower | Photo by Andrii IURLOV 

Now that you’ve seen the Eiffel Tower from afar, it’s time to get up close and personal with the city’s most iconic landmark. In 1887 the tower was finished after just two years, two months and five days of construction. It was built as an entrance into the 1889 World’s Fair. The cultural icon stands at 1,063 feet and is a wrought-iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars. Walk across the glass floor on the first floor. The second floor hosts a Michelin-starred restaurant and has shops and dining options. Stop here for delicious macaroons. Next stop, the top! Take a glass-walled lift to the top and look down on the sprawling city. Visit the champagne bar and raise a glass to this sensational experience! 


Louvre Museum | Photo by Philippe Halle

Any trip to Paris isn’t complete without visiting the Louvre Museum. It’s the largest art museum in the world and a central landmark of the city. It is also one of the most visited museums in the world, with over a million visitors annually. The structure of the museum is a medieval palace, originally built in the late 12th to 13th centuries. Remnants of the original fortress are still visible in the basement of the museum. The museum houses around 38,000 works of art dating from prehistoric times to the 21st century in a massive 652,300 square feet. 


Sacré-Cœur Basilica | Photo by jovannig 

Sacré-Cœur Basilica is the second most visited monument in Paris. It is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is located at the summit of Montmartre and construction began in 1875. The Romano-Byzantine style includes a portico with three arches and two equestrian statues. The building itself is made of travertine stone. As with many other monuments in Paris, the dome is open to tourists for panoramic views of the city. 


Notre Dame | Photo by Leonid Andronov

Though the interior of Notre-Dame cathedral is not accessible at this time due to the fire in April, you can’t leave the city without at least viewing the exterior. This structure is a medieval Catholic Cathedral and a stunning example of French Gothic architecture. Construction largely took place between 1160 - 1270, though it has since been modified. Take a moment to reflect on the damage from the fire and the immensity of the cost and work ahead of the people to restore this religious structure. 


Arc de Triomphe | Photo by Phongphon Sutantayawalee

The Arc de Triomphe is a national symbol of Paris and also offers sweeping views of the city. It is a monument honoring those who fought in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. It stands at 164 feet tall and is located at the western end of the avenue of Champs-Élysées. 



While the monuments in the city are truly remarkable, there’s also no shortage of absolutely stunning fashion pieces. For some high-end window shopping, or if you are lucky, actual shopping, head to the famous avenue of Champs-Élysées. Decide for yourself if it’s one of the “world’s most beautiful avenues” while you ooh and ahh over some outrageously expensive shops. If you just can’t get enough of all the luxury goods, carry on to Avenue Montaigne, which connects Champs-Élysées to the Alma Bridge. Think Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chloé, Céline, Thierry Mugler, Saint Laurent Paris, Prada, Gucci and oh so much more. It’s a shopaholics dream location! 

If you can’t quite stomach the thought of spending several thousand dollars at one location on a sweater, head to the 16th arrondissement for great fashion deals on top French designers. Reciproque, the largest luxury designer consignment store in Paris, is a great place to look for a steal. Discounts range from 20 - 80 percent off. Around the corner is Le Date, a jewelry box brimming with cocktail frocks, furs, heels and bags displayed on vintage hat boxes. For even more fun, head across the street to Depot Vente Luxe Paris, which features more current fashion and items from recent seasons. 



Escargots de Bourgogne - Snails with herbs butter | Photo by mikhailkayl  

While shopping for hours on end might not thrill everyone, there’s no denying that everyone has to have food! For authentic French cuisine, head to La Grange Aux Canards. It is located near Notre Dame and features fabulous duck confit, foie gras, escargot and fresh fish. Enjoy a glass of wine and stick around for dessert. The restaurant itself is very intimate, so don’t forget to make reservations!  Perfect for date night or a leisurely lunch. 

Once you’ve had your fill of traditional French food, head to Bao li Bao. This Asian fusion restaurant serves up homemade, freshly prepared dishes. Sit outside or indoors (air conditioning!) and try a bao burger or ramen burger with potato croquettes. Enjoy a refreshing matcha boba tea without worrying about breaking the bank. Here you’ll find reasonable prices; a burger is about 13 euros. 


French pastries at Angelina in Paris | Photo by changchinming 

A quintessentially Parisian way to pass time is sipping espresso outside a cafe while wearing an Instagram-worthy outfit. However, have you considered trying hot chocolate? The best hot chocolate in Paris is at Angelina in the 1st arrondissement near the Louvre and Tuileries Gardens. Visit the delicatessen for takeout where you can get hot chocolate and a pastry as a treat. If you have more time, make a reservation for the Tea Room, a place for “sophistication and indulgence.” The interior exudes elegance, charm and refinement. Make sure you order the Mont Blanc dessert, Angelina’s signature pastry. It is like a cupcake, made of pureed, sweetened chestnuts and topped with whipped cream, whose name comes from its resemblance to a snow-capped mountain. It’s like tasting heaven! 

Where to stay

For a luxury stay, consider the Saint James Albany Hotel, which is located in the heart of Paris. This 4-star mansion faces the Tuileries Garden and exudes luxury, as the 18th century style includes chandeliers galore.  A classic room will go for approximately 270 euros per night. 

For a more cost-conscious approach, consider the 3-star Hôtel de Nice on the corner of rue de Rivoli and Bourg Tibourg. This 19th century building provides all the comforts of a guest house while keeping you centrally located near the Picasso Museum, the Louvre and Notre Dame. Double rooms range from 100-250 euros per night.

There’s so much to do and see in Paris. From the stunning Eiffel Tower to the numerous cafes, grab your special someone and plan an epic long weekend away. Shop, see the monuments and just enjoy quality time spent together marveling at everything the city has to offer.

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